16 Signs of Depression in Young Adults

Signs of Depression in Young Adults and Teens | Aspiro Adventure Therapy

Over 20% of young adults ages 18 – 29 suffer from depression. Left undiagnosed or untreated, depression can lead to serious, harmful behaviors, such as substance abuse, promiscuity, self-harm, violence, or even suicide. This guide will share some of the unique warning signs of depression in young adults.

Depression in young adults doesn’t consist of just moodiness and bouts of sadness or melancholy. Major Depressive Disorder is a serious problem that has the potential to affect many aspects of an individual’s life. While many well-adjusted adults have trouble learning how to deal with depression, it is even more difficult for young adults.

How to Deal with Depression: Signs of Depression in Young Adults

Because signs of depression can appear differently in younger individuals than they do in adults, depression is too often overlooked or undiagnosed in young adults. The following are signs and symptoms of depression in young adults.

  • Hostility, aggression, and persistent irritability
  • Changes in weight, eating patterns, and appetite (significant weight loss or gain, binge eating, hoarding food, avoiding food, not eating enough, etc.)
  • Lethargy or a significant decrease in energy
  • Reduced concentration
  • School failure/difficulties in school, a drop in grades, skipping school, or frequent absences
  • Defiant or rebellious behaviors
  • A sudden change in peer groups
  • Difficulties with one’s existing peer group
  • Lack of enjoyment or fulfilment from significant relationships.
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Difficulties making decisions
  • Family conflict or strained family relationships
  • Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Increased alcohol consumption or experimenting with other drugs.
  • Changes in sleep patterns (excessive sleeping or difficulties sleeping)
  • Wanting to die or having suicidal thoughts
  • Self-injury, self-harm, or self-mutilation (cutting, burning, etc.)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Frequent complaints of physical ailments, visits to the physician (headaches, stomach aches, body pain)

It is vital to keep in mind that some of these symptoms of depression can also be normal behavior, or indicative of another mental illness or problem. For example, a young adult who has low self-esteem or dropping grades may have an undiagnosed learning disability. This is why severe depression can only be diagnosed by a trained, licensed health care provider or mental health professional who knows how to deal with depression in young adults.

However, if you have reviewed the signs of depression in young adults, and suspect that your child may be depressed, it is extremely important to act quickly.

  1. Talk to your son or daughter, express your concern, and find out more about his or her feelings.
  2. Maladaptive coping was the main predictor of depression, anxiety, and stress in young adults. Obtaining help from a credible mental health professional is vital to ensuring that your son or daughter develops the skills and tools needed to learn how to deal with depression.

To learn more about depression treatment options and programs for young adults with depression, download our free white paper, Depression and Anxiety in Young Adults.

Anxiety and Depression in Teens and Young Adults

About Aspiro Adventure Therapy

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The mental health professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

Additional Resources on Young Adult Depression:

By Josh Watson, LCSW, CMO at Aspiro Adventure Therapy Program

4 thoughts on “16 Signs of Depression in Young Adults”

  1. I like that you said that it’s possible that you’re experiencing depression if your sleep patterns have changed, and you stop socializing. That’s what actually my daughter has been doing because she has been isolating herself since her father died. I also noticed that she has been oversleeping and has no energy to do anything at all. My sister and I will make sure to find a counselor that can help her.


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